Category Archives: new york
Traffic in Souls ~ This 1913 silent was also known as While New York Sleeps: A Photodrama of Today. Written and produced by George Loane Tucker (best known for his later film, The Miracle Man), it was also called in Hollywood circles ‘Tucker’s folly,’ as he tried for years to get the film made.
Traffic in Souls is about the slave trade in the early 20th century, something that tragically still goes on today. Tucker sought to develop a drama that would simultaneously entertain and inform audiences of this horrid crime. Rumor had it at the time it was based on a government report, but this wasn’t true, although that didn’t keep folks from seeing the picture. Hype worked the same way a century ago as it does today.
I finally got to see this flick on TCM’s terrific “Silent Sunday Nights.” It is a tale of two upstanding Swedish immigrant women, played by Jane Gail and Ethel Grandin, one of whom is swept away by deceptive men into prostitution and worse. Matt Moore is also very good here, and it might be why his career stretched beyond this film.
It’s one of the first feature films from Universal, one of their first hits, and did what Tucker intended, alerted audiences to the horrors of human trafficking at the time. Great scenes of New York of the time, and worth a look for silent film lovers.
Midnight Cowboy ~ This is the movie that changed the way people thought about movies, and it was also the first and only X-rated film to win the Academy Award for best picture, although the X rating meant something a little different back then than it did later on. It cemented Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight as the stars of the 1970s, and it forever placed the song “Everybody’s Talkin'” in people’s heads when walking in crowds in New York City. It also features two of film’s most memorable characters, and one of its most quoted lines, “I’m walkin’ here.”
Based on the 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy, written for the screen by Waldo Salt, and brilliantly director by the legendary John Schlesinger, Hoffman and Voight lead an all star ensemble cast through a tour of the seedier side of New York, a Time Square that no longer exists, and the darker side of life that still haunts us. At its core, it’s a tale of friendship and desperation.
The real feat of Midnight Cowboy is bringing life, thanks to the expert direction and the performances of the actors, to two almost cartoon-like characters – naïve hustler Joe Buck and the infamous Rico ‘Ratso’ Rizzo – amazing. You actually grow to love them and their relationship so much that the ending may bring you to tears. This is truly one of the best films of its era, and a definite game changer. Recommended.
Let’s talk a bit about NYC cabbies. They are insane. NASCAR, demolition derby, even stunt drivers have nothing on these guys. Even have a bus an inch away from you in the back seat of a cab, on either side? I have, and while speeding. Insane I say!
The trip back to Javitz this morning wasn’t as exciting as the previous day’s but I did see three Starbucks each on the corner of three consecutive blocks, on the same side. Not quite Lewis Black’s end of the world paradox, but still, scary.
We had a bit of an emergency when The Bride arrived late last night. She realized had forgotten her con ticket way back in south Jersey. Props to the staff of NYCC for handling the situation in a quick and friendly manner. So far the staff here has been pretty amazing, a vast difference from some other cons I’ve attended.
First stop was to say hi to Fat Momma, the runner-up in the first season of Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” The Bride had met her at previous cons but I had not. She’s a very nice lady and we chatted about the Broadway shows she had seen since in town – “Wicked” was good, “Shrek” bad. We also got a signed pic and a copy of her new book from Esteem Comics.
Next stop on the autograph parade was Colin Baker, the sixth Doctor. He was overheard to say he quite enjoyed the new series of “Doctor Who” and loved that they had thousands of Daleks. Very friendly. Said hello to actor Robert Culp, hell of a nice guy. He was selling scripts of some of the episodes of “I Spy” that he had written, some of the better ones I might add. Next to him was his partner in “The Greatest American Hero,” William Katt. I told him how much I enjoyed seeing him recently in The Man from Earth and he signed a copy of the GAH comic for me. And don’t forget to check out the motion comic for iPhone as well.
After a lunch of a wonderful Javitz ratdog cooked in the smoky essence of chicken kabobs, it was off the to the packed-to-the-walls Cup O’ Joe panel. In attendance, besides Joe Quesada of course, were Brian Michael Bendis, C.B. Cebulski, Jim McCann and publisher Dan Buckley. Dan Slott was also seen sitting in the audience off to the side with the rest of us.
There was Ultimate announcements. The line is being canceled and restarted as “Ultimate Comics.” Same characters, same continuity, so I’m really unsure of what the real difference is. There will be four monthlies in the line. Ultimate Spider-Man will have a new #1 written by Bendis and drawn by new regular artist David LaFuente. After a time jump in the continuity it will feature new characters, a new status quo and maybe someone new in the costume. That old gag again. Ultimate Avengers will be by Mark Millar and Carlos Pacheco.
Then the room was open for questions. Bendis said that Jessica Jones will remain a supporting cast member of New Avengers but not a member of the New Avengers. An Alias mini with Miichael Gaydos is coming maybe next year and “asses will be bitten.” Ahem, it was also announced that current Ultimate Spidey artist Stuart Immonen will moving on to be regular artist on NA after issue #55. Wiccan will also be appearing and the line-up will stay as it is for a while, even though it seemed to take Bendis a minute to count down everyone on the current team.
Dan Slott was called up out of the audience at one point, and he sarcastically mentioned being thrilled seeing himself unshaved on the mini-jumbotron in the room. Interesting that the question he was brought up to answer was one of continuity – Norman Osborn knowing (or not knowing) who Spider-Man was. Slott seems to be the go-to guy for fixing continuity. Witness his current handling of the Scarlet Witch in Mighty Avengers. Oh, and the Normie/Spidey thing will be coming up soon by Slott in Amazing Spider-Man.
Publisher Dan Buckley took on the question of the price increase at Marvel and actually gave a pretty logical and honest answer in easy to understand terms. They are raising the prices on the popular titles so they won’t have to raise them across the board, and holding off as long as they can. I don’t like it, but I appreciate the honest answer.
Joe Quesada and Brian Bendis tackled a question concerning a problem I have voiced in my reviews at Avengers Forever on more than one occasion – why covers don’t always reflect what’s on the inside of the book. The fan asking felt cheated by a recent Avengers issue that was a Secret Invasion tie-in with Hawkeye on the cover but not inside. The answer was that the covers were homages to classic covers and specifically were not meant to depict what was inside. They just laughed it off saying Hawkeye was not a draw for a cover anyway. Hmmm, I’d buy a comic with Hawkeye on the cover. Anyone else out there?
Other than a few more hints from Bendis that the Spider-Woman series was going to be digital, and that Echo would be appearing in it, that was about it for this Cup O’ Joe. I went searching for HeroClix after that, only to find one vendor with any sort of selection. On my travails through the con floor I came across Anthony Tollin, comics colorist and probably the world’s foremost authority on The Shadow, and from him I bought my prize purchase of the con. The Shadow: Partners in Peril, love it , love it.
Never underestimate the drawing power of even a partial Pixar film. The showing of the first fifty minutes of Up filled the IGN Theatre to capacity and turned away many folks, my Bride and me included. And the line to get in started well over an hour beforehand.
At that point we were pretty beat and decided to call it a night. Steering this back around to NYC cabbies again, it took almost an hour to flag down a real cab. There were dozens of gypsy cabs but we turned all of them away. How is this legal? It’s like some guy has a car and decides to pick strangers up and name his price. What got me is the amount of con folk who got into these gypsy cabs. I hope none of them end up in ditches come tomorrow morning.
Today’s quotes both come from Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada: “Squirrel Girl stores my nuts for the winter” and “Let’s hear it for whoring.”
Live television is a wonderful thing. Whether it’s Andy Kaufman acting like a spoiled child on “Fridays,” Janet Jackson flashing a boob at the Super Bowl, or Bud Dwyer taking his own life at a press conference – shit happens. Two nights ago, longtime New York newscaster had her own ‘event.’
Here’s her ‘error,’ and the apology that came a bit later.
My question is what exactly was she reacting to?
Bet they won’t be doing those news teasers live any more, huh?